Migrant Tales (July 8, 2012): The absurdity of the reverse-racism argument in Finland

by , under Enrique

Every now and then you’ll hear a visitor on Migrant Tales claim: What about [reverse] racism against [white] Finns!? Racism is a complex problem but one matter singles it out: It is an effective tool to socially exclude, control and exploit other groups in society from vital resources such as jobs and economic wealth. 

The fact that white Finns are the standard of everything in Finland is enough proof that they wield real power. White Finns don’t have to understand racism because they simply don’t have to. It’s not an issue because they are the standard of this society, the norm. Everyone else has a prefix attached to them like immigrant, immigrant descendant, black, Roma etc.

Valkoinen valta-4
This graffiti that reads “White Power” in Finnish was on a special elementary school’s wall in Mikkeli, Finland, for months before it was removed.

In May 2011, the anti-immigration Perussuomalaiset (PS) party renounced all forms of racism, even positive discrimination, or affirmative action.

It is surprising that when the PS made their preposterous statement, few if any media in this country understood how racist and grotesque it was and how it revealed a serious case of  colorblind racism (let’s pretend we’re equal because ethnic background does not matter, when in fact it does).

Colorblind racism works in Finland in an implicit and explicit manner. Its aim is the same:  ethnic background is not the issue. If it is an issue, it’s your  ethnic background.

  • ·         We have such a wonderful society that we are way past racism so get over it (explicit colorblind racism);
  • ·         It’s your culture, your parents or you that is hindering adaption to our society. In this case I recognize your ethnic background but only to shift blame and wash my hands of the problem (implicit colorblind racism).

 Accusing a visible minority, or immigrant of being racist against white Finns, is a good example of implicit colorblind racism.  Since racism isn’t a problem in our society, it can’t be my problem. It’s your problem.

Some successful immigrants or visible minorities who have succeeded in Finland may reinforce the same colorblind racist argument as white Finns. They may claim:  ”I’m not white but I adapted to the white Finns’ world. That is why I am successful. You too can be.”

Those immigrants who have racism issues usually come from countries where such a social ill is the standard. It’s easy for them to accept the white Finn as a standard because they too were the norm in their former home country.  As a result, some embrace the idea of becoming a Tuomo-setä, or Uncle Tom, because they are encouraged to and rewarded by white Finnish society for such behavior.

If you are ever confronted by a person who uses the reverse-racism argument, ask him or her how is the prejudice of a minority as devastating as that of the majority?

White Finns should stop whining about reverse racism because it isn’t an issue. It’s only one of many loaded arguments used by them to justify their racism.

This post was originally published on Migrant Tales on July 8, 2012.

The Finnish name for the Finns Party is the Perussuomalaiset (PS). The English names of the party adopted by the PS, like True Finns or Finns Party, promote in our opinion nativist nationalism and xenophobia. We therefore prefer to use the Finnish name of the party on our postings.

  1. Joonas

    Well, I sort of disagree with you. My girlfriend’s father doesn’t approve me, because he rather have her daughter to date the guys with the same ethnic background than she is (he has said that by himself). I do consider that as a racism, but I don’t let it to affect me or my relationship.

    I would say reverse-racism does exists also in Finland, but it’s less visible due the ethnic population structure in here.

    • JusticeDemon

      I don’t want no honky in my family, you dig?

      Time for a little karaoke…

  2. Mark

    Hi Joonas
    I agree with you, that there is a reverse-racism, sometimes as a reaction, sometimes as just plain racism, and that it can have individual effects and even employment effects if the employer is an immigrant. The question is whether it is anything more than a distraction from the racism of the majority? In most cases it’s not on anything like the same scale, either relatively speaking or in terms of the overall effects on the victims.

    What I think when people start the reverse- racism game is that it’s just got incredibly childish – that the first response to trying to discuss the very obvious racism in Finland is ‘well, they are racist too’, as if that was any kind of intelligent response. In the same breath of course, these people will then deny their own racism, leaving just the racist immigrants to discuss!!!

    • Joonas

      Yes, I agree with you. When the racism is towards the minority, it affects more things in their lives (for example, getting a job). However, it is also good to remember not to blame everything on racism. Not all bad looks or some people behaving badly are caused by racism.

  3. Joonas

    I don’t want no honky in my family, you dig?

    Hehe, I dig. He has very strong prejudices towards Finns, but it’s not a big problem anyway. And in a way I can understand those stereotypes, even I don’t fit in them.

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